Sep 19, 2013 KV Kiva HQ
By Polly Peterson
Kiva U Spotlight: Rahul Pandit brings microfinance to Harvard


Rahul Pandit is going into his junior year at Harvard College, studying economics. Among his many accomplishments, he serves as an instrumental member of the Kiva U Advisory Board. 
 
Rahul first discovered microfinance in high school during a family trip to India. While there, his family had the opportunity to visit a rural village where he saw firsthand the disconnect between those who have access to capital and those who don’t. Rahul came back from the trip eager to share his experiences with his peers. He and his friends got busy creating a microfinance club at his high school. Today, that club is entering its fifth year with brand new leadership.
 
Rahul took his passion with him to college, and we’re pleased to hear he has “more faith in microfinance than ever before.” With so many students exploring issues of poverty and financial intervention from a variety of perspectives, Rahul knew his campus was the perfect place to start a vibrant discussion about microfinance.
 
Today, Rahul leads the Harvard College Microfinance Project, a venture of the school’s Forum for International Development -- and it’s already getting tons of positive attention. This year, the group raised money to lend to an entrepreneur in their local community, turning engagement into a personal connection.
 
Kiva found Rahul through our friend Bob Annibale, one of the driving forces behind the Kiva U initiative and our partnership with Citi. Bob was an early supporter of Rahul’s efforts, and as Citi’s Global Director of Microfinance, he was a helpful ally in getting his projects off the ground.
 
When asked where Kiva U will be in five years, Rahul envisions the program at the epicenter of microfinance education and engagement, “creating a forum to build the critical mass for [young] people to communicate on microfinance.” We couldn’t agree more and feel confident that this vision can become a reality, especially as long as we can count on great thinkers like Rahul joining our movement against poverty.

Kiva U is a collaboration between Kiva and Citi to engage students and educators on the topic of financial inclusion on campuses, in classrooms, and through their social networks. Find more information and get involved at KivaU.org.



Rahul Pandit is from New York City and currently attends Harvard College (Class of 2015). He has been involved with microfinance since high school and currently acts the President of the Harvard College Microfinance Project, a venture with the Harvard College Forum for International Development, as well as serves on the Kiva U Advisory Board.

 

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Polly grew up in the Pacific Northwest and moved to the Bay Area from Salem, OR in September 2012.  She just finished up a year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA working with high school-aged youth trying to integrate into higher education.  She is excited to get going as the new Community Education intern; particularly the opportunity to interact with students who are pumped up about microfinance!  Having been a Kiva lender for several years, and spreading the love by giving loans as gifts, it is so fun to now be a part of the team, working to inspire more young lenders.  Polly studied Political Science, Spanish and Social Justice at the University of Portland and graduated in 2011.  She loves to travel, read, play would-you-rather, and dance!

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